I'm a wannabe gardener...but not a really good one yet. I'm not the kind who enjoys gardening for gardening sake, but I do want to eat out of my own garden. MY motivation went up considerably today when I visited our local "winter" farmer's market and found out that it is hard to get both local AND organic near me. So, I decided it was time to get serious about producing as much of my own veggies as I could. There are some obstacles: I live in a tiny condo townhouse that does not allow for planting right in the ground. This past summer we got a few tomatoes and bell peppers out of seedlings I bought from elsewhere, but that's it. My zucchini plants grew and flowered but did not produce zukes. Same with beets, carrots and spinach. This winter, I'm going to try to build some kind of greenhouse on our balcony to try and grow some spinach at least. Maybe some potatoes. But I'm pretty intimidated by the challenge. Any words of advice or encouragement?
Go for it Eileen! Cooking with things you have grown and picked yourself is so rewarding. I'm thinking that you may have very few pollinators visiting your zucchinis, especially in the middle of the urban jungle. A quick google search reveals that you can hand pollinate these, but it would probably be nicer for you if you are able to attract some bees to do the work for you! Maybe some decorative plants that flower the same times as your zukes would help do this. The Manly Chucker recommends talking to somone at a local nursery or florist for some suggestions.
For the rest, I've tried carrots and spinach in pots, and have only had luck with spinach- don't know if this is due to Australian climate, or the MC who waters diligently. My carrots when I harvested were approximately 2 inches long- they possibly just don't like pots. Above all, remember that plants have no reserves to call on in a pot, so it's important the soil doesn't dry out and the plant doesn't become pot bound. Once either of these happen, the soil becomes hydrophobic, ie it repels water so it just runs out the bottom of the pot and the soil doesn't retain it. Of course if this happens, you can always try putting it in a bigger pot with more soil. And don't forget to feed them with something like Osmocote.
Last tip- if you want to go really simple, try growing seeds from fresh produce you have purchased from the markets or the shop. This is the best of all because you don't have to pay any extra for them! It's also really exciting to watch them come up and turn into distinctive plants.
Hope that helps